Police say an Indianapolis dialysis nurse has admitted to driving 200 miles to Kentucky, breaking into a family home at random and stabbing a sleeping boy to death with a kitchen knife, according to NBC 5 affiliate WTHR.
Ronald Exantus, 32, killed Logan Tipton by stabbing him repeatedly in the head while the kindergartener slept in his bed, according to police. Exantus also allegedly stabbed Tipton's young siblings during the violent attack, though he pleaded not guilty Monday.
Tipton’s unthinkable alleged murder has plunged the small Kentucky town of Versailles into mourning, and shaken neighbors are rallying around the family even as they worry about their security. Exantus is described by authorities as having no apparent ties to the town or family and no motive for the killing.
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"Babies aren't supposed to have anything like this happen to them," said the boy's aunt, Melissa Pujol. "You can't make sense of it. You just have to try to get through it. We're just trying to get through it."
Logan was a happy child, always smiling, she said. He loved to play football.
The police citation alleges Exantus wandered around the house where Tipton lived with his parents and siblings after gaining entry, then headed to an upstairs bedroom where the boy was sleeping and left him dead just before dawn Monday morning.
Exantus has been charged with murder and first-degree burglary. He appeared in a Woodford County courtroom and entered a plea of not guilty Monday with bond set at $1 million by District Court Judge Vanessa Dickson.
"We're all kind of bumping our heads again a wall; it's mind-boggling," said Versailles police Lt. Michael Fortney. "It's a child who had no opportunity to defend himself."
Christmas lights and decorations, including Snoopy wearing a Santa hat, adorned the small frame house where Logan had lived with his family.
Two bikes and a basketball were strewn in the front yard. Neighbors said Logan and his siblings would be outside playing whenever weather permitted. Nearby are a couple of churches, one with a front yard sign reading: "Jesus is the reason for the season."
Laura Burton Lacy, a family friend, set up an online fundraising account to raise money for his funeral, counseling for his siblings and other expenses. Community members collected $15,000 in just a few hours alone.
The family plans to move out of their house in the neighborhood. Two of the boy's sisters suffered non-life-threatening cuts in the attack, and the suspect was held by the boy's father until police arrived, the arrest citation said.
The boy's father said at his son's vigil his oldest daughter helped hide her siblings and fought with the intruder until her dad could get there to help, WTHR reports.
"She fought this grown man trying to kill them all until I got upstairs," he said.
"She saved the rest of them until daddy got there. She's our hero," Logan's mother said, according to WTHR.
"The family did all that they could," Pujol said.
Fortney said police have found nothing to connect Extanus to the family or to the town. Family told police they have never seen Exantus before.
Hours after the killing, an attorney appointed to represent Exantus questioned his mental competency. Bridget Hofler said at her client's arraignment that he was unresponsive when she asked him about his background and family. He didn't know his mother's phone number nor could he tell her his occupation or what he was doing in town, she said.
"I have discussed various things with him on two separate occasions this morning and he's not able to really discuss anything; he's not here," Hofler told reporters afterward.
She told the judge she has heard her client is a registered nurse, but has been unable to confirm that. The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency lists a Ronald Exantus of Indianapolis as having an active nursing license.
Logan was a kindergartner at Simmons Elementary in Versailles. His classmates were told he had died, but not about the circumstances of his death, said county schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins.
"He was extremely well liked," Hawkins said of the boy. "He had a lot of friends at the school. Just a great, great little boy, and one that you certainly loved having in your building."
Exantus lived with a girlfriend and three young children at an apartment near 86th and Township Line Rd. on the northwest side of Indianapolis, according to WTHR. A neighbor told WTHR she saw his girlfriend just this week and “nothing seemed out of the ordinary,”